New iOS Math Game Embraces the User Experience

Quick Math costs 99 cents in the app store, and was developed by Shiny Things Software Pty Ltd, the maker of a handful of iOS puzzle games. The Next Web beams the app “is an educational dream for kids” and “math crack for adults.”

You are presented with math problems on the screen and you draw the answer anywhere you please with your finger. The system uses handwriting recognition to view your answer and provided you get it right, you’re on to the next question. At the end of a question series you get a graph of your completion time and you’re encouraged to beat your score on the next round. Questions scale in difficulty as you progress.

The app features a clean interface which is inviting and easy on the eyes. Numbers and test appear in a sans-serif font that is attractive to look at. (A serif is defined as a slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter or a number. Those little projections on the ends of Times New Roman characters make it a serif font. The font of this article is a sans serif font, which lacks the projections.)

Out of curiosity I looked up a psychology paper on the advantage of sans-serif fonts and the abstract pointed out what I predicted: “Results show a small, but significant advantage in response time for words written in a sans serif font. Thus, sans serif fonts should be the preferred choice for text in computer screens—as already is the case for guide signs on roads, trains, etc.”

My apologies for being long winded here. I’m simply identifying the excellent choice the developers of Quick Math made to use a sans serif font in their new app. When you’re trying to teach math, especially to younger people with shorter attention spans, you need every advantage you can get. And the soft color palate of cyan blue against a cloudy background with the sharp contrast of black text and clean edges lends additional attractiveness to the user experience.

Early users of the app are investing their time into it. Early reviews on the app page give feedback that the handwriting recognition feature needs to be improved, meaning these players (learners?) are getting wrapped up in the competitive edge of the game, trying to beat the clock to improve their score. Time will tell if the developers are able to improve Quick Math’s handwriting feature. I don’t own an iOS product so I wasn’t able to try it out on my own. Perhaps an Android version will come along later?

Quick Math is a cheap way to have a little fun while learning math. An educator could use this app as an assignment, and a parent could suggest their child sit down with the family’s iPad to answer a few questions. There’s a market for this kind of app, and developers giving thought to clean and inviting user interfaces and addictive gameplay are going to come out ahead. Head over to the app store to pick up Quick Math.